On the heels of President Bush's speech today outlining American policy in Iraq and on the war against terrorism, I offer this post. I do not often delve into politics, and I do hope that isn't what this turns out to be. However, some things need to be said regarding our presence in Iraq, and our policies against terrorism worldwide, as well as the safety of not just Americans, but poeple of all colors and creed, all over the world.

The first part I offer is really just a reiteration of what President Bush said regarding Al Qaeda's ambitions. The following paragraphs outline Osama bin Laden's and Al Qaeda's self-proclaimed ideology.

1. The principal stated aims of al-Qaeda are to drive Americans and American influence out of all Muslim nations, especially Saudi Arabia; destroy Israel; and topple pro-Western dictatorships around the Middle East. Bin Laden has also said that he wishes to unite all Muslims and establish, by force if necessary, an Islamic nation adhering to the rule of the first Caliphs.

2. According to bin Laden's 1998 fatwa (religious decree), it is the duty of Muslims around the world to wage holy war on the U.S., American citizens, and Jews. Muslims who do not heed this call are declared apostates (people who have forsaken their faith).

3. Al-Qaeda's ideology, often referred to as "jihadism," is marked by a willingness to kill "apostate" —and Shiite—Muslims and an emphasis on jihad. Although "jihadism" is at odds with nearly all Islamic religious thought, it has its roots in the work of two modern Sunni Islamic thinkers: Mohammad ibn Abd al-Wahhab and Sayyid Qutb.

Al-Wahhab was an 18th-century reformer who claimed that Islam had been corrupted a generation or so after the death of Mohammed. He denounced any theology or customs developed after that as non-Islamic, including more than 1,000 years of religious scholarship. He and his supporters took over what is now Saudi Arabia, where Wahhabism remains the dominant school of religious thought.

Sayyid Qutb, a radical Egyptian scholar of the mid-20th century, declared Western civilization the enemy of Islam, denounced leaders of Muslim nations for not following Islam closely enough, and taught that jihad should be undertaken not just to defend Islam, but to purify it.

Further, the principal stated aims of Al Qaeda in Iraq are:

4. In February 2004, U.S. forces intercepted a letter believed to have been written by Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, a Jordanian radical. The letter outlined plans to destabilize Iraq by igniting sectarian conflict between Shia and Sunni Muslims. Al-Zarqawi is thought to be the mastermind behind the roughly 1,000 foreign insurgents fighting in Iraq. For a time, al-Zarqawi appeared to position himself as a rival to bin Laden, but in Oct. 2004 he officially declared allegiance to al-Qaeda, changing the name of his organization from Unification and Jihad to al-Qaeda in Iraq. In an audiotape a few months later bin Laden declared that "the dear mujahed brother Abu Musab al-Zarqawi is the prince of al-Qaeda in Iraq," and announced that "we, in al-Qaeda organization, welcome him joining forces with us."

These are the stated beliefs and ambitions of Al Qaeda.

Source for above Al Quaeda "Ideology": http://www.infoplease.com/spot/al-qaeda-terrorism.html

For over a year now, many politicians, both US senators, congresspeople, and political hopefuls, have been calling for troop reduction in Iraq. Some of those initially calling for troop reductioon are now calling for a "pullout" altogether, claiming that the war in Iraq is not the way to win the war against terrorism, and that the actual front of the war on terrorism should not be in Iraq, but somewhere else.

I ask the simple question; If not in Iraq, then where should the front be? If there is anyone out there who is in favor of a pullout, please help us answer that question, because to date, no politician seems to be able to.

Furthermore, there is the small faction of Americans (many who I believe have been misled and incited by politicians) who believe that all we are doing in Iraq is enraging the terrorists, and further inciting them to acts of war against us.

That may be true; I am not a terrorist, I wouldn't know how to answer that charge.

However, please consider this: In 1993, Al Qaeda attacked our World Trade Center for the first time, clearly trying to topple the towers and kill everyone inside. If you recall that time period as I do, then you also recall that although Americans were upset by the attack, we were not necessarily angered, nor were we incited enough to do much of anything about the attack. As a result of our response, the following occured:
  • 2/1993: Bombing of World Trade Center; 6 killed.
  • 10/1993: Killing of U.S. soldiers in Somalia.
  • 1994: Investigation of the WTC bombing reveals that it was only a small part of a massive attack plan that included hijacking a plane and crashing it into CIA headquarters.
  • 6/1996: Truck bomb explodes outside Khobar Towers military complex in Saudi Arabia; 19 American servicemen killed, hundreds of others injured.
  • 1997: Massacre of 67 Western Tourists in Egypt
  • 8/1998: Bombing of U.S. embassies in East Africa; 224 killed including 12 Americans.
  • 12/1999: Plot to bomb millennium celebrations in Seattle foiled when customs agents arrest an Algerian smuggling explosives into the U.S. Other Algerians subsequently arrested were "Afghan alumni."
  • 12/1999: Jordanian police arrested members of a cell planning attacks against Western tourists.
  • 10/2000: Bombing of the USS Cole in port in Yemen; 17 U.S. sailors killed.
Just as according to bin Laden's ideology, Al Qaeda will attack Americans where Americans are found. Right now, in Iraq, American soldiers are easily found. They are everywhere, and they are being attacked. Moving these troops out of Iraq will not divert Al Qaeda's attention away from America, as the previous chart of Al Qaedan attacks clearly shows.

For those people who want our soldiers out of Iraq, I can understand your angst. Americans are dying nearly every day, and certainly, we desperately want it to stop. Make no mistake; Americans are a target, but by far, they are not the only target. Zarqawi's letter openly stated that the goal of Al Qaeda in Iraq was not to win a war, but to stir the shit. That is their only goal. Thousands upons thousands of Iraqi citizens have been sacrificed for their freedom.

Al Qaeda does not differentiate. They do not differentiate between apostate or Muslim. They do not differentiate between American or Arab, Jew, or white, black, yellow, or red. They do not differentiate between soldier and civilian. They simply do not differentiate. Their goal is subversion, and their means are violent. Everyone is a target, regardless of age, sex, creed, or career.

Consider what will happen if we leave Iraq.

1. Al Qaeda will continue to threaten, attack, and mutilate the weak in Iraq. It is part of their creed; they will not ever deviate from that ideology. True, if Americans are there, they will attack us any chance they can get. But they are not fussed over who their target is; whoever is handy at the moment will do just fine. And recall that the ambition of Al Qaeda in Iraq, literally, was to start a civil war. That goal is close to being met; Al Qaeda will not stop stirring the shit towards that goal just because we leave.

2. Americans are targets, wherever they are. If we are not in Iraq, we will be attacked somewhere else. Most likely; in fact, almost defnitely, if we pull out of Iraq, the next attacks will be here, in the Homeland. Attacking Americans is part of the Al Qaedan ideology; they will not ever deny that part of their ideology, and thus, they will not ever stop making attempts to attack Americans...wherever we are. Right now, the American soldiers in Iraq are convenient targets. I know that sounds heartless, but I'd bet if you asked bin Laden, he'd agree. In fact, I'd bet he's said it already long before I ever did.

If we leave Iraq, the war on terrorism will come here. Make no mistake about that. If the front is no longer Iraq, and the American people have fulfilled bin Laden's prophecy about being soft-bellied (or "Yellow bellied"), he will bring the front back to our borders and press his advantage.

I asked the question earlier; if not in Iraq, where will the front for the war on terror be? I have given you my answer to that question. Maybe I am wrong; I would be willing to listen to anyone who could provide a more likely alternative.

3. As shown in the chart of Al Qaeda's attacks against US interests since 1993, the presence or non-presence of US military personel in Iraq or Afghanistan has nothing to do with frequecy of attacks, or magnitude of violence. Our response to Al Qaeda and Osama bin Laden in 1993 served to encourage the terrorists towards future attacks.

On September 11, 2001, we lost over three thousand citizens following an attack on the same World Trade Center that Al Qaeda had targeted eight years prior. Because we only lost six citizens in 1993, we didn't react. We were confused, surprised, and a bit irked. We did not enter the Sudan and go after bin Laden or his generals at that time. I think maybe we might have tried a missile lauch at an empty tent some years later. Our overall apathetic response led to thousands of deaths in 2001.

We are in Iraq right now, and we are there to stay until the evil is rooted out, or until the Iraqi government can root out that same evil itself.; and any politician that tells you he will bring the troops home before then is lying.

What we are hearing on CNN and the Network News broadcasts is nothing more than political rhetoric, and the muscle to pull the plug in Iraq is non-existent, neither in the Republican nor Democratic party.

No one wants the front for the war on terrorism to come home. We may want the soldiers to come home, but we don't want to pay the price for their homecoming, and regardless of what Russ Feingold says, he won't pay the price either, because the price is to bring the front to your backyard.

We have the world's best police forces, the best anti-terrorist agencies, and the best army. But it only takes one time out of hundreds of attempts to kill thousands of people in an attack on the Homeland. The terrorists only have to get lucky. We have to be perfect. They know this. Do you?

Al Qaeda will never change its ideology. Terrorists will never stop targeting whomever is on hand at the moment. Better to meet them where they are at, than to let them meet us where we are at.

At the moment, they are in Iraq, and other Middle Eastern places. Would you rather they came here to find us? Because it only takes once for us to fail, and we will once again re-live the nightmares, and the endless CNN and Network News broadcasts of terror in America. Who wants to go through that again?

When the towers crashed down, and the Pentagon was dented, when thousands were dead and many more injured, we cried as one nation, "Give us our cake, and let us eat it, too! We just want our way of life back!"

The price of that cake, my fellow Americans, is dead soldiers. It has always been dead soldiers, and it will always be dead soldiers. The cost of our way of life is borne upon the same shoulders that carry the guns that kill our enemies. It is not borne by the politicians who send these soldiers to war, nor by the talking heads who try to shape American consensus with their rhetoric.

We are a passionate and enterprising people. We raise, train, and employ a passionate and enterprising army, to provide, and protect our way of life. When they are not at home, it means the front of the war is not at home either. Bring them home, and the war will come home, as well.

I don't have to remid you how we all felt during the days of the terror in America. We have a thank you to give to to all of our men and women carrying the rifles that kill our enemies. They have done their job since September eleventh, 2001. The front is not here. It's somewhere else, and you are free to carry on, to have your cake and eat it, too. But never forget for a moment that someone has paid, is paying, and will pay the price for the cake you eat.

Are we a nation of ingrates, or are we a nation that is thankful that the front for the war on terror is not in sight of our front door?Are we after all, only soft, yellow bellied Americans who cannot stomach the cost?

While you are remembering who is paying the cost, please also remember that if they don't pay the price for you, then you or someone dear to you is going to pay a price, and you still won't get your cake, because you only get cake when someone else buys it for you with their blood.

A perspective of all of this needs to be drawn. Our nation has enemies who no longer abide by the conventional rules of war. They will attack Americans wherever Americans are found, and they do not differentiate. You are a target. A bullet has your name on it, most definitely. A bomb, be it nuclear, dirty, or conventional, is aimed at a location near you. The resolve to launch that bomb has already been made. The only thing that stands between you and that bomb is a soldier. We should be thankful that this soldier is thousands of miles away.

But if you want to bring him home, don't be looking to eat cake any time soon.

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